If you have ever stepped a foot on the soil of Jubilee, you know it lives up to the name it has been given- the salt flats. Land stretched before your eyes, barren. The ground too salty to grow anything. Not even tumble weeds blow through for that would indicate a life once lived. No rather the land sits idle. But this week we declared the land was the Lords. He sees beauty where we see barren. He dreams of forests while we see brown. But this week we capture a glimpse of his beauty as we proudly planted 75 trees.This past week was agriculture week in Haiti. It almost seems like a cruel joke where I live. However there was anorganization going through, giving out free trees. Tiny baby trees, mind you, but trees none the less. So we picked up 75 of them. Nearly one for every student in our school.After reading the sort of The Lorax our students marched outside and got a lesson in handling plants. They then used compost that has been gathering nutrients over the past two years to fill in the hole and plant their little trees. Each student remembers exactly where their tree is. They circled them around with rocks and we staked them down with sticks and twine. And everyday they attentively come out ready to water, pull weeds, mend the fence, pick up trash in the garden or anything else that is necessary at that moment. It is a beautiful sight to see the hope these plants are giving. We have mockers everyday who stand just outside the garden fence and laugh at us saying the trees will die and we are stupid for even trying. We have no doubt we are stupid, but it’s not stupid for planting. No, not at all. Rather we are being foolish for Jesus. He once made a man out of dust. He takes broken things and makes them his most treasured of all valuables. We believe Jubilee is the same way. Each day as Tchachina comes out with a bottle of water she brought from home to water her plant, she is investing, believing and hoping.
These are traits we want to cultivate in all of out students. Julio going home last night and cutting off parts of cactus so we could make a cactus fence to keep goats out, he is showing that he is willing to invest in the silly dream of a forest in Jubilee. Daniel grabbing a plastic bag and picking up trash, without being asked or even suggested- he is showing he wants Jubilee beautiful and is willing to work to make it happen. Rosalinda helping build up the rocks around other peoples trees, shows her heart in helping others. The most beautiful traits of our kids are being brought out as they tend to the garden. Jesus is being seen every moment. As the mockers stand at the gate and yell, curse and tease, our kids build, work, trust and even pray over the trees. It is a beautiful metaphor for all our work here in Jubilee. The devil sneers, you will never make a difference. Yet our kids show us that is untrue. Jesus is filling them with himself. So we praise God saying,
till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
We will believe.